While the DREAM Act has not passed, certain immigrants who would qualify for the DREAM Act if it passed, called “DREAMers” will be eligible to apply for Deferred Action and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Requirements include, but are not limited to: (a) under age 16 at the time of entry (i.e. age 15 and younger), (b) present continuously in the US for at least five years as of June 15, 2012, (c) age 30 or under on June 15, 2012, (d) currently in school, graduated from high school, have GED, in the military, or honorably discharged from the military, and (e) no convictions for a felony, multiple misdemeanors, or a serious misdemeanor offense, such as a single conviction for DUI, domestic violence, or simple possession of marijuana of any amount. This is not an exhaustive list of eligibility requirements.
These individuals will receive what's called Deferred Action, which is temporary protection from removal that can be revoked at any time for any reason or no reason at all. An individual who has been granted Deferred Action is eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which gives the person permission to lawfully be employed. Once the EAD is issued, the person may take the EAD card to a social security office and use it to apply for a valid social security number. The person may also use the EAD card as proof of lawful status to apply for a driver's license in every state in the US. Some important things a person cannot do with an EAD and Deferred Action are: depart the US and return, sponsor or petition for other people, apply for permanent residence, qualify for federal student loans, or qualify for means-tested public benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid, or welfare. While the government will immediately stop removals of this group of people, there are not yet procedures in place to apply for the Employment Authorization Documents. Those procedures are expected to be announced sometime in mid-August.
There are expected to be a large group of people who both qualify for "EADs for Dreamers" and also qualify for the Provisional Waiver Program once it is implemented. For those fortunate individuals who qualify for both programs - this group would include those who entered as young children and are now married to US citizens - they will be able to obtain an EAD while the Provisional Waiver application is pending and then depart the US to obtain the immigrant visa, returning as a permanent resident. Only those who qualify for BOTH programs separately will be able to do this.